It’s been awhile since I have written and published a blog. I’m writing all the time, in my mind, at work and in my personal life and some pretty interesting stuff may I add. With the best endeavors time beats me every time in pursuing my blogging activities. Now this isn’t an excuse as I haven’t made a commitment to any one (except myself) and frankly, my blogs are not number 1 in the blog parade! Nevertheless I punish myself in my lack of whatever that appears to trip me up. Yes time . . . .
That said I guess micro blogging, posts and comments go some way to satisfying “I have a voice” therapy even though no one may want to listen. Every time we make a comment in the Social Media sphere we are exercising our need to express and be heard.
This image is striking and adds to the plethora of statistics coming out of every “big data” sales pitch and Internet innovation post. And clearly it shows that the world has developed time to have a voice as part of the natural day-to-day order of life.
I often say “You can always make money but you can never make time”. Time is money, time makes money and various permutations of time over money and money over time and on and on. But it’s not all about money is it? It is all about time and what we value in that moment of “time”.
My last blog published in February 2015 (clearly I do not have enough time) is inspired by the need to reinvent the local library as a more 21st Century offering for this internet generation. That way I guess the act of posting aligns to a very social and open collaboration. Since then a number of articles, experiences and events have amused, confused, angered, and inspired me but clearly not enough to urge me to make time to blog. Why is that?
Is it that access to so many feeds, posts and information sources has reached saturation that the whole experience and value is becoming like wall paper? Is it that when it comes down to it you need significant determination, discipline I and creativity to maintain a frequent blog? Or is it that you need time!
For a generation it is time and tools. The tools being the omnipresent smartphone and all the Apps that captures your life in step by step posts, pixelated and videoed on every exciting memory that will hold an audience forever, and just look at the “Likes” and comments! I mean who has time to live these events as we’re so busy capturing them to share.
It will be interesting to see in 10-15 years time if the % demographic shown in this chart reflects the the survival rate of some of these platforms through the transitions of generations. What strikes me is the 25 to 34 demographic dominance of nearly all of these. So say you’re the lucky one who invents a new Social Media platforms and takes it all the way to IPO and WOW! The success if predicated on the usage of a demographic that is constantly changing it stance from generation to generation and suggests no real longevity based upon the investment you have made. Would you buy stock? Will the next 25-34s really be so drawn to Social Media? And will the technology still be valid (that’s another blog)?
This century has seen a significant change in how we live, work, communicate, socialize and behave. We can no longer live in a time bubble, safe in our local understandings and ignoring the wider world. The change in technology and the perceived benefits that it brings demonstrates that events all over the world can directly impact our daily lives through the connections that information technology has empowered through Social Media. It suggests that we have a voice and want to be heard. It suggests that this is forming part of our daily habits and part of the ritual of living.
We have a voice and want to be heard and will use anything that empowers us to do so. Or “you can post all you want to but you can’t always have something worthwhile to say”.
It’s really great this social media thing. It is such a great space for education and awareness. The sheer volume of posts, blogs, reports, info-graph and all things. All supported by the sheer weight of big data making sense of things we couldn’t prove before whilst at times tearing down our historic perceptions of our past reality. I love it. But it can become a paranoiac minefield of self-harming opinion. It is almost akin to “Death by PowerPoint”.
Death by PowerPoint a common fatality of many a great and important message. That said pictures paint a thousand words and ShowTime can be fun. Thinking back on the multitude of events I have attended, the presentations that resonated most have to be those that told a personal story. A story you could relate. Not the slide or statistic that you had to jot down. I guess it is dependent on all having a shared experience – speaking to the masses! Data would suggest this is more often the case than not in our modern overly monitored, categories and processed lives.
I attended an event on customer service back in 2011 that had a lot of case studies and statistics on where, why and how to manage and deliver it supported by copious amounts or diagrams/slides showing best practice, architecture, tools etc. All very useful, informative but I have to confess with a retention score of Zero in creating a call to action or influencing me past the next speaker.
Funny I am in the midst of setting out an initiative and find I am producing copious number of slides to help galvanise my thoughts! A tool or a communication medium? That’s another blog! Where’s my mind-map?
Returning to this event and one particular presentation, well more like story-time. A futurologist (I kid you not) working at BT, a Dr Nicola Millard delivered such a poignant and relevant message of the future of service engagement that it basically put to shame 80% of the previous days speeches, industry advice and undermined most of the solutions presented and best practices pitched.
She explained that the rate of change and the speed of consumer opinion is overwhelming and unstoppable in this connected social mobile Smartphone App futurologist . That the reality is that no matter how hard companies try to perfect engagement they can only do so retrospectively which is often too late, too behind the curve to satisfy and putting at risk customers retention or limit any damage to the brand.
What made Dr Millard presentation so impactful was her delivery of this dilemma and the fact that she reached out to the audience by using the whole stage and not standing behind a lectern or referred to slides as the main delivery.
You could see the whites of her eyes the passion in her beliefs. She instilled confidence and therefore commanded attention. She spoke directly and enthusiastically and put “us” in the story recalling our everyday activities in relation to the proposition of “how to control the un-controllable” which was overly oopinionated customers using smartphone/social app at the point of service delivery – a queue that was way too long against the backdrop of unattended service booths. #poorservice
And the picture she painted is one that I have experienced personally. In situations where I have required assistance from some large organisations I have used social media (mainly Twitter) to achieve success. In most cases this has worked far better than traditional channels (LG, British Airways to name a few good ones).
Her positioning of this dilemma still resonates with me. I hear in so many conversations I experience in business to this day. The need to change, modernise, and deliver “world class” customer service and perform better. A constant challenge and at times struggle for most organisations. “It’s all about the platform” cries out a stressed out management team; “If we had a single view of the customer with all channels captured and . . . . .”
So how does Social Media and customer service close the gap, crosses the divide between the post, the like, the comment and shows the whites of it eyes? It must give that personal touch, that empathy or a call to actions that changes the nature of the broadcast to really be a service offering.
Do I have the answer? I guess Social Media fundamentally promotes tailored service and breaking the call centre-all script. Why? Because the transparency and collaboration that can develop from a single post or a single tweet can be immense and lasts forever in the Social Cloud. The conversation can become global quickly so containment and direct help is imperative to rescue the experience to maintain reputation and relevance with a customer. But it can’t be one of process as that is not a good experience and this is very public.
Since that event way back in 2011 I am seeing and experiencing companies taking Social Media so much more seriously, not for the “Likes” alone, but for supportive interactions and turning this into positive, global and fully transparent PR opportunity of what a great company does when it needs to support its customers.
Great service will always starts with a personal touch, an experience, a human touch at the end of the post or send button. So I wouldn’t bet on transformational cost savings in service delivery through the transition into Social Media Customer Service practice. After all it is just another channel to manage! A ferociously public one which will require the good old Service Agent to manage as much as any “one on one” experiences on traditional channels. The existing internal training, couching and product/service training and CRM practices as is standard in any good service organisation will still be demanded and expected by your customers. So don’t look to save using Social Media as a “cheaper channel”, but look to improve your return creating a Social Media Service experience that shows them the whites of your eye and gets the word out that your a great Brand to work with.
This entry was posted in Big Data, Blogging, Cloud, Collaboration, Consulting, Customer Service, Face-to-Face, futurologist, PowerPoint, Projects, ROI, Service, Social Media and tagged Brand, CRM, Customer, Facebook, Instagram, Rentention, Service, Service Agents, Social Media, Twitter.